Today’s festive-season horrors: 19-year-old Tony Chung jailed for disrespecting the flag; a NatSec Law detainee put in extra-special custody for scribbling a Hong Kong independence slogan on his cell wall; no-one is allowed into the HK 12 trial in Shenzhen. On a brighter note, a judge notes that Jimmy Lai’s supposed collusion with foreign forces look like merely comments and criticisms.
New Year reading for the gentry…
Reuters has a big feature on what has made Carrie Lam the way she is. Not much really new. It would be interesting to know why all the other top officials – Matthew Cheung, Teresa Cheng, et al – are just as willing to follow the CCP’s orders.
Western and Asian envoys in Hong Kong say they have found Lam increasingly “reclusive.” Long-time observers say she has become almost unrecognizable since she came to power in 2017. Her language in media briefings and in conversation with Western diplomats is increasingly formal, similar to that of Beijing.
A former senior government official and colleague said Lam had become distant. She added, “I don’t think anybody in their wildest dreams expected her to turn out like this.”
Former classmate Lee said he believed Lam “didn’t anticipate that the Chinese Communist Party is so cruel or so totalitarian.”
Well, no-one ever accused her of being in touch.
This is a must-read. Lawyer and former San Francisco police commissioner Doug Chan in Eastwind reviews the SCMP’s Rebel City documentary about the 2019 uprising, finding it…
…slickly-produced apologia for the thuggish policing and incompetent government that are greasing the skids for Hong Kong’s creeping authoritarianism.
The review is packed with gems about Yonden Lhatoo and Regina Ip, among others.
As you would expect from something called Radical History, dangerously subversive ideas on Hong Kong and Taiwan…
The argument that these two places rightfully “belong” to China is based on a version of the country that has not existed for five generations now and was only ever itself a tenuous reality in the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries…
By rejecting or modifying the label “Chinese,” both territories have started exploring what it might mean to honor their histories as multicultural and multiethnic societies instead.
A link to some ‘utter, superb China-bollocks’ about how the ancient mystical Oriental mind works.
The ancient mystical Oriental mind does foreign policy: how China is learning to lose friends and alienate countries, the Swedish edition.
A presentation by David Webb on the costs and benefits of three broad approaches to countering the Covid pandemic. Perhaps not surprisingly, the middling neither-tough-nor-lax regimes used in the US/UK/EU produce the worst results in terms of the number of lives lost, disruption to people’s lives, and likely long-term economic damage.
New Bloom explains how most Taiwanese would like to rename the country’s flag carrier, currently known as [Republic of] China Airlines. But even changes to the livery are controversial. (Beijing threatens to veto the company’s air traffic rights if it adopts a ‘Taiwanese’ or non-motherland name. How about a romanized ‘Chunghwa Airlines’? Good enough for the phone company. Or even ‘Zhonghua etc’, if that’s what it takes to satisfy the CCP’s nomenclature and Pinyin fetishists. Most foreign audiences wouldn’t perceive a ‘China’ connection.)
Also on nomenclature, Transit Jam asks why the planners called the latest infrastructural marvel the bland and clunky Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Tunnel instead of the zippier (and geographically more appropriate) Long Ku or ‘Dragon Drum’ Tunnel. (Simple answer: have you ever seen what happens when bureaucrats try to be creative? It’s not pretty.) How about White Elephant No 17?
And for light relief, the HK Film-makers Federation video on how they shoot action choreography – aka kung-fu-bodies-flying-through-air-stuff.